We have all heard the saying, “If Momma ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy.” It is especially true when momma is tired, lonely, and overwhelmed. I obviously think that everyone else needs to be tired and lonely and overwhelmed with me. My husband very gently asked one day what he could do to help alleviate some of the pressure I was putting on myself. I quite literally said the words, “I’m okay, I just need you to love me a little louder than usual.” I had heard the saying bouncing around the inter webs for the last few months and I knew in that moment he would understand. He put his laptop away, poured me a glass of wine, turned on Modern Family, and sat next to me on the couch and held me tight. So tight I almost couldn’t breathe. But it worked. His not words said, you are important to me, your needs matter, you matter. He didn’t try to engage or cheer me up, he just loved me loud.
I think loving loudly means loving people the way they need to be loved, not necessarily loving people the way we need to be loved. Regular love is patient and kind and some would say gentle; it’s an offering without expectation. It’s just love. It demands no response or action. It is a constant. When I am sad, lonely, depressed, or just busy, I start to doubt my ability to be loved. So that gentle love is too quiet. The peace that I normally rest with just knowing that I am loved, is missing. There is a BIG GIGANTIC wall in there that is keeping me from seeing and hearing that real gentle love. I NEED it loud. I need to be forced to acknowledge what I know deep in my heart. I am good, I am loved, I am worthy!
I’M OKAY, I JUST NEED YOU TO LOVE ME LOUDER THAN USUAL.
I think our kids need that from time to time as well. My kids know they are loved, there isn’t a moment of doubt in their minds that they are cherished and loved and important. But we are beginning to navigate big kid life. I know every parent with grown children has done it. It is nothing new, but it’s new to us. Friendships are beautiful and hurtful, sleepovers are fun and exhausting, sports are exhilarating and disappointing. The balance of all things lies in a precarious place when you are a tween.
Our tween has high expectations of life. Christmas is always a horrible disappointment and field trips and special days never quite live up to the expectations he’s created for them. In those moments, through those tears and angry words and utter sadness lies a little boy who wants nothing more than magic. His disappointment makes him angry and sad and a little mean. It’s easy to send him to his room to “get over it” or to point out all the things in his life he should be grateful for. Instead, I hug him and hold him and tell him that I am so thankful he has such a wonderful view of the world. Because loving him louder means that all feelings are ok and talking them through makes them more rational and logical. It takes time to love him loudly but I usually get a thank you and hug at the end and it is ALWAYS worth it!
A day in the life of my 8 year old is messy. She spills or dumps everything she touches. She dances until her legs hurt and digs worms until she can taste mud. She squeezes every single ounce of joy from every single moment of life. But living loudly means crashing loudly. When’s she’s reached the end of her rope, it’s nothing but unstoppable tears. The world has suddenly stopped spinning and she cannot get off the train. Loving her loudly means running a warm bath, turning on her favorite radio station, and leaving her alone for an hour or 2. We can never talk her out of sadness, she must rest in it for a while; literally let it wash over her. When she comes out of that tub, its like a baptism has taken place. She’s ready to face the world again, whole and new and clean. Loving her loudly is ALWAYS worth it!
I frequently say that our littlest munchkin flares as hot as a flame. Her happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, fear, impulsiveness and bravery are always at a 10. So loving her loudly has to be quite honestly loud. She is still little. So loving her right now is all about snuggles and boundaries, and bedtimes and chasing balls in the backyard. It’s that precious time with little people that makes your heart and your temper swell quickly. As she gets a little older we will have to learn to love her loudly as well.
I’m not sure that loving people is always easy. Love is hard. It’s messy and angry and frustrating and sometimes selfish. But it’s worth it. Knowing when to pour love into someone is possibly the most valuable skill necessary. But knowing when to accept it will change your life.
*Welcome to Monday. You made it! This Post was written for Making it to Monday on Almadiem.com/blog You can find me there each Monday talking about all things family.